MINI LAUNCHES UPDATED MODELS

2018 MINI 3 door 1

MINI has launched updated versions of its 3 door hatch, 5 door and Convertible models here in Mzansi. The cars have been facelifted in order to keep interest going and customers walking into showroom floors for another three years or so. The changes are not just exterior but also some interior bits, including technology-wise and customisation. Remember MINI stopped producing and selling the Paceman, Coupe and Roadster body styles, so those are not affected.

The refreshed looks affecting the exterior include new LED headlights with Matrix function, something optional for those who enjoy better illumination at night. MINI adopted a new logo last year, which is cleaner and more defined. It appears front and backside. A Union Jack design for the rear lights is part of the changes too. That is the United Kingdom flag in case you were wondering.

For those who are not too keen on bland body colours, MINI has added new ones named Solaris Orange and Starlight Blue metallic among others. They give the car its deserving sparkle and spunk, as well as bringing out the best of the new wheel designs. Owners will be able to customise their cars to over 100 different combinations, including two-tone colour play with the roof.

MINI interiors are known to be compact, sporty but fairly comfortable, especially for the front passengers. That has not changed. What has changed are some of the items found inside, such as the newly-designed multifunction steering wheel and gear lever. A larger range of interior surfaces is now available, including a current piano black. MINI Connect is accessible through the Control Display with its touch screen function. If you have driven MINI before you will instantly recognise it.

Two powertrains are used for the whole range in the Mzansi market. In certain European countries they also have a diesel. Entry-level engine is the 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbocharged motor found in the stunning BMW i8. In this application is produces 75kW and 190Nm for MINI One and 100kW (220Nm) for MINI Cooper. The Cooper S and John Cooper Works keep their 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo for their 141kW and 280Nm, as well as 170kW and 320Nm of torque respectively. A standard 6-speed manual appears across the range, while two automatics make up the rest of the powertrain.

While the John Cooper Works model takes an 8-speed automatic as an option, the rest of the cars can be purchased with an optional 7-speed DCT or double clutch automatic. Why the difference? Well while the DCT is definitely quicker to change gears and is the sportier of the pair, the 8-speed can handle more torque, which is what JCW has.

The MINI has not changed its driving characteristic. It is still fun, engaging and agile, bringing smiles to those lucky enough to engage one on the road, as I did with the 5 door and 3 door Cooper S versions. The former is bigger, therefore more spacious for better legroom and load space. It’s primarily aimed at MINI fans with a growing family or friend circle, who need the extra room. For the rest, the 3 door does as superb a job as it has since BMW bought the brand.

 

MINI Prices

3 door hatch – from R302 200

5 door – from R312 300

Convertible – from R423 200

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